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News > Chile

Chile: Court Ratifies Detention for Ex-Cop Who Blinded a Man

  • Carabinero Carlos Crespo (C), Santiago, Chile.

    Carabinero Carlos Crespo (C), Santiago, Chile. | Photo: Twitter/ @DiablaSandi

Published 23 December 2020

Claudio Crespo has been in custody since August 21, after the Prosecutor's Office pointed to him as responsible for blinding Gustavo Gatica.

Santiago City's 7th Guarantee Court Tuesday ratified the preventive detention of former Military police lieutenant colonel Claudio Crespo, who is accused of blinding young Gustavo Gatica during a protest in 2019.


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After an eight-hour hearing, Judge Cristian Sanchez ruled in favor of maintaining the precautionary measure despite Crespo's defense claims.

The officer commited "a grave crime and will remain in prison because of the risk of escape," Sanchez explained.

"We believe that there is an error. In a rush to show a suspect, the Prosecutor's office crucified my client. There is no record to keep the prisoner in custody," Crespo's defense attorney Pedro Orthusteguy said.

According to the attorney, there are no eyewitnesses to say that Crespo shot Gatica, who lost sight after being hit by rubber bullets.

However, the Prosecutor's Office stated that the evidence presented in the court shows that the defendant is related to the violent incident. 

"While there is no single element that places Crespo at the scene, we could determine his responsibility after an exhaustive methodological analysis," prosecutor Francisco Ledezma said, emphasizing that the investigation lasted over eight months.

Chile's National Institute of Human Rights (INDH), one plaintiff in the case, supported maintaining the precautionary measure.

The Carabineros ex-officer is in preventive detention since August 21, after the Prosecutor's Office presented ballistic evidence and audiovisual records of the events.

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